If These Trees Could Talk

Red Forest

01. Breath Of Life
02. The First Fire
03. Barren Lands Of The Modern Dinosaur
04. They Speak With Knives
05. The Gift Of Two Rivers
06. Red Forest
07. The Aleutian Clouds
08. Left To Rust And Rot
09. When The Big Hand Buries The Twelve

[Self Released]

Opening in an elegant drone of distant guitar feedback, acclaimed post-rock outfit If These Trees Could Talk set the scene for their sophomore album Red Forest with foreboding anticipation. One almost gets the sense of being amidst the landscape emblazoning the cover, as the atmospherics achieved right out of the gate accurately capture the spirit of its subject, especially once the hauntingly beautiful melodies come into play. If These Trees Could Talk have done it again.

Perched comfortably between the delay and reverb driven tremolo picked chord progressions of post-rock and the crushingly powerful sludge riffs of post-metal, If These Trees Could Talk are easily one of my favorite atmospheric rock bands. I won’t name any names, but I was skeptical of the genre for a while as my previous experience was with exhaustively long songs that meandered far past my interest and attention span.  Then came along ITTCT’s 2009 debut Above The Earth, Below The Sky, which captivated me with its to-the-point songwriting that still managed to achieve epic and telling soundscapes.

Three years later, Red Forest feels almost more mature and carries more depth. Functioning as a five-piece instrumental outfit, If These Trees Could Talk are proof that a band can justifiably utilize three dedicated guitar players all while managing to have an audible bassist, unlike Periphery and Whitechapel. All across Red Forest, these four stringsmen build a grand polyphony of unique interlocking melodies and layers of harmonies and atmospheres. This seems to be one of the few bands that manage to have each player performing separate parts at practically all times of play, which is great for listeners who enjoy dissecting albums. There’s always something new to discover in Red Forest that you might not have heard on previous listens.

The drumming is not to be forgotten either, as the percussive work on Red Forest really drives this record. The rhythm section on any instrumental release must be interesting enough to keep interest when the music is laid bare as a standalone piece such as Red Forest. The beats and fills certainly do help to make the record catchier, and this is coming from a listener that typically doesn’t focus on drums as much as he should.

Despite Red Forest‘s many haunting passages, some newcomers to the genre may find it difficult to get attached to this record without a clear and evident frontman. The playing field on If These Trees Could Talk’s turf has each instrument valued at equal importance. To borrow a phrase from like-minded band Scale the Summit, their strings are their voices, and they sing wonderfully. If These Trees Could Talk have written another album of beautiful soundscapes and gorgeous crescendos. The ebb and flow of Red Forest is like going on a journey, and as cheesy as it sounds, this is a whimsical record that is sure to advance the accessibility of post-rock and instrumental music.

If These Trees Could Talk – Red Forest gets…


– JR



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